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Welcome to Craven DEC's 4th Green Futures Eco-Schools Newsletter.  We are working with secondary schools to help them on their journey to become Eco-Schools as part of the Green Futures project which is funded by the Big Lottery Fund through the Our Bright Future programme. Please do forward this newsletter to friends and colleagues who may also be interested in environmental and Eco-Schools news, they can subscribe by emailing

Biodiversity - Focus on Bees

Albert Einstein once said: “If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live.” 

Bees pollinate flowers, plants and crops without them our environment and economy - including our food - are in trouble too. Bees pollinate 75% of our main food crops worldwide, including some of our favourite produce like apples, strawberries and tomatoes. Scientists estimate that it would cost over £1.8 billion every single year to pollinate UK crops by hand.

That's why it's so worrying that 20 bee species have become extinct in the UK since 1900 and a further 35 are on the threatened species list.

Here in the UK, bees are facing many dangers such as:

  • Habitat loss
  • Exposure to harmful pesticides
  • Climate change
Take Action: In School
Plant single open flowers that will allow easy access, avoid plants that have double or multi-petalled flowers these often lack nectar and pollen which can also be difficult to get at. Herbs such as Sage, Thyme, Catnip and Lavender are ideal, plant in large groups or drifts of the same kind so that the insects have good foraging sites.  Have a look at the RHS  list of Garden Plants   perfect for Pollinators

Leave an area of your school grounds to wildflowers , dandelions, white and red Clover are excellent bee plants or grow a wildflower meadow. Check out the RHS list of Wildflowers perfect for Pollinators 

In the UK alone there are 267 species of bees and over 90% are solitary bees. These are  fantastic pollinators: a single red mason bee is equivalent to 120 worker honeybees in the pollination it provides. Build a house for solitary bees out of recycled materials.

Place a water bowl near to your Bee friendly plants, Bees can drown in deep water so fill with glass beans or pebbles or so that they have a dry surface for them to drink from.

Take Action: Join a  Campaign  
Friends of the Earth petition calling for our government must support a complete, permanent ban on neonics. 

Take Action - Bee Watch 

All you need to do is submit a photo with a date and location. Use their simple online guide of the 22* UK bumblebee species to help you to identify your bumblebee. BeeWatch will confirm or complete your identification and give you formative feedback on useful identification features as well as plant species favored by this bumblebee. If your photo is clear enough for a definite identification it will become a record in BeeWatch 

New OPAL interactive tool: Planting for Pollinators
This new interactive tool helps you explore the plants favoured by all our different bumblebee species. You can use this for planting advice or just to learn more about plants, bumblebees and environmental concerns surrounding pollinator decline. No login required, just click on the link.
Funding for projects

Youth Environment Action Fund - Our very own Green Futures fund for young people. Recent YEAF funding includes; gardening equipment and seeds, bike racks and more gardening tools - what eco activities or campaigns could you do with extra funding?  Apply by June 8th

Tesco Bags for Help Bags of Help is Tesco’s exciting local community grant scheme  where the money raised from the 5p bag charge is being used to fund thousands of local projects in communities and schools right across the UK.  

vInspired’s Cashpoint gives you the money to bring your own community project to life. Tell them what great change you want to make and how your project clearly benefits others. They’ll give you up to £500 to make it happen.

The Environment Now, another Our Bright Future project are looking for digital solutions to pressing environmental problems and will offer funding of up to £10,000 to the 50 best, innovative ideas. Your project must:
  • Have a designated project leader that is aged between 17-24. 
  • Have a positive and measurable environmental impact in areas such as; energy efficiency or waste and recycling.
  • Use digital technology to solve an environmental issue
Ernest Cook Trust provides grants of between £100 and £4000 (in small grants category) for the education of young people about the environment and countryside 
Have a look at this fab new newsletter for young people written by young people.  Great articles, and a chance for budding nature journalists to contribute to a national magazine

Diary Dates!

30 days Wild in June   Can you do something wild every day throughout June? That’s 30 simple, fun and exciting Random Acts of Wildness. The Wildlife Trust have pack of goodies, plus lots of ideas to inspire you to stay wild all throughout June (and beyond!).

World Environment Day June 5th - ‘Connecting People to Nature’, is this years theme, implores us to get outdoors and into nature, to appreciate its beauty and its importance, and to take forward the call to protect the Earth that we share. This could be a perfect day for an assembly by your eco-term on climate change. 

World Oceans Day June 8th  - Overall theme  Our Oceans, Our Future, with an action focus on encouraging solutions to plastic pollution and preventing marine litter for a healthier ocean and a better future.  A good day to focus on Eco-School topics of waste and recycling-  especially plastics.  Could you plan to host a screening of the film "A Plastic Ocean" .

World Day Against Child Labour 12th June  -  Who makes your clothes - The ILO estimates that 170 million are engaged in child labour, with many making textiles and garments to satisfy the demand of consumers in Europe, the US, and beyond. Use this day to explore fairtrade and ethical clothing issues. 

Refugee Week 19-25 JUNE 2017 Different Pasts, Shared Futures - a week of activities around the country to celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, and encourages a better understanding between communities. Look out for the exhibition of refugee art in Skipton Library - launch night on Tuesday 20th June 7-9pm, one ore more of the artists will be there.

World Population Day July 11th See how many people are in the world now - look at the population clock - 7,505,437,716 when I write this newsletter - what is it now?  Making sense of global issues has a lot to do with making sense of data - why not make a quiz based on the world's population using information on the If the World Were a Village – fractions, decimals and percentages  resource. 

If you'd like further resources or activities for any of these days   email  

In September 2015 World Leaders committed to the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. 17 goals to achieve 3 extraordinary things by 2030. End extreme poverty. Fight inequality and injustice. Tackle climate change.

World’s Largest Lesson aims to introduce the Global Goals to children and young people everywhere, and help them take action.

World’s Largest Lesson 2017 begins on the 18th September. We can help you plan your lesson, and you can join 000s of students around the world in taking action to make a positive difference. 

Hot off the press are the Science Curriculum Links for England. Each document highlights where Practical Action's materials can help you integrate sustainability into the formal primary and secondary curriculum using their fabulous  resources.  Craven DEC are also happy to deliver these sessions to groups.                     
Places are filling up for Demand the Impossible, a summer school for 16 – 25 year olds taking place in Manchester from 24-28 July. The course is absolutely free to all participants (food and transport included).

The course will help young people gain a critical understanding of power in society and develop the confidence and skills to get active in changing society. They will encourage you to explore ideas in a participatory, empowering way, engage with inspiring speakers and groups, and develop practical skills by engaging in activism.
The deadline for applications is 18 June, but apply early because previous courses have been oversubscribed.
School News

SGHS are busy planning an Eco-School conference on Wednesday 12th July!  We are looking forward to staff and students from all our current and prospective Eco-Schools sharing ideas and information about the work they are doing or planning as part of their Eco-Schools journey. If you'd like to attend, contact to register interest.   

Photo credit: Eva Hiles.

Eva Hiles (Year 8) entered and won ‘Great British Spring Clean photography Competition’. The above is the winning photo, earning Eva a brand new Canon camera! The Great British Spring Clean is a campaign led by Keep Britain Tidy.

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